Women in Society in 21st Century

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Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Richard on Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:08 am

Coming off the Pope Rant - it appears to me that in all human societies men and women develop certain roles and those roles are enforced within that society ... often as a moral imperative. Those roles change and such change has profound implications for the community.

In the latter part of the 20th century in the USA, men and women redefined their roles. This was a natural function of the industrial revolution (which changed the nature of "work"), of the development and acceptance of The Pill and other effective contraception, and of the financial security and better education of the baby boomers. Another huge difference was Social Security and advanced medical discoveries ... having a large number of children to care for one in once's old age was no longer a necessity.

Marriage became a no-fault contract between two adults instead of an economic necessity for living and dealing with pregnancies and child rearing. Unlike my parents' generatiion, women were educated just as well as the men ... if the family expected a son to graduate college or high school, the identical expectation was placed on the daughters of that family ... a huge change from prior generations.

And women entered the American workforce. Both husband AND wife were economic units in corporate America ... and, in theory, both husband AND wife could be self sufficient.

On paper, a wife entering the workforce ought to greatly increase the family wealth. Two incomes are better than one income - ought to be about twice as much money for the family.

On paper, contraception ought to give women complete sexual freedom - at least as much freedom as men have always enjoyed.

BUT American society did NOT work out that way.

Two income families today have a standard of living roughly equivilent to the single income families of the 1950's and early 60's.
And women do NOT enjoy the sexual freedom ... wrong word ... sexual self-determination that men have always enjoyed. contraception has limited the number of children born to economic healthy families ... BUT the word "slut" is still alive and well and only refers to women.

The RADICAL changes expected, the RADICAL benefits expected with women having control of their income and their reproductive systems just has NOT come to pass.

It is NOT as easy as - the men will not give up power. Certainly and of course there exists straight-white-male privlege in the USA. I see it, I experience it, I benefit from it. BUT I do NOT impose it on the women in my life and I do whatever I can think of to contra-act that privlege on behalf of my beloved women. Many ... most ... USA men try their level headed best NOT to oppress women.

BUT women still earn 70 cents for the male dollar. Two incomes in 2010 bring us the same as one income in 1959.

I firmly believe my daughter has it better than my mother had it. More options in life, more resources in life. BUT my daughter does not do as well as we expected in the 1970's ... the time of it being unusual to have a woman doctor, woman lawyer, woman soldier, woman astronaut, woman outside the home who was not a nurse or teacher.

Where do you think the USA screwed up as regards the role of men and women in society? WHY did it not work out the way my 20 year old friends and I expected?
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  lesherb on Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:50 am

Richard,

I've always been impressed with your stalwart support of women and their issues.

My mother was a stay at home parent when I was small. She had to quit working while pregnant with me for health reasons. She took a part time job when I was around 11 or so but it was only for a short time. Then she started working full time when I was a junior in high school.

During that time, she and my father managed to buy a house, raise 2 daughters, send one to college, add onto their house, and vacation occasionally. We were middle class. My father was on the police force and retired as a lieutenant.

I have often wondered why it seems to take a larger percentage of one's income in order to accomplish what my parents did. Then again, my ex-husband and I were able to purchase a home while I was a stay at home mother. It was cheaper for me to stay home with the kids than to go to work, buy another car and pay someone to babysit. I did get a P/T job towards the end of the marriage but it was not lucrative by any means.

As far as equality in pay, I agree. It's taking much too much time to come full force. Yet, I am optimistic. I see it in my nephew's wife and my niece. They are strong, capable college educated women. My nephew was raised by my sister....the epitome of a strong, capable woman! I see those same strong women here. The income gap will be surmounted and mankind will look back upon these times as a work in progress.

£eslie



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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  alli on Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:49 pm

I think it is going to take a couple more generations to change things in the US. As our sons and daughters reach the levels of success where they start setting policy and influencing change, we will see more equality IF we as parents have done our job correctly. It is up to us parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends to make sure that we teach our youth to see each person for who they are, not their label of male, female, race, sexual orientation, etc.

Once that is deeply ingrained in the populous then change will come. I am more than gratified when my kids express outrage at shaby treatment of people. I know I've done my job when it is discrimination, intolerance, and just stupidity that makes them angry and desire to do what they can to effect change.

It takes a long time to change a society's viewpoint. Baby steps seems to be the method even though we would love to see giant steps occur. But there are too many people who live by archaic standards for big steps and it take time to change their viewpoint. I have hope that within another generation or two true equality will be much closer than it is now. If you look back just to the 50's we've made great strides... Those baby steps do add up.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  marion on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:10 pm

There isn't a black and white answer to that Richard.

1. Why do two incomes not goes as far as one? Because they don't even build the little houses we grew up in anymore. The ten square 3 bedroom is now a four bed, double garage with ensuite. Our economies are based on growth, bigger and better, not sustainability. Whole other subject there.

2. Our parents and anyone here over forty probably had the best economic times we will ever see. Because we worked our butts off. Many of our children don't remember Dad working 12 hour days and mum going off to clean toilets, waitress in coffee shops etc. All they see is our lifestlye now and want it now. This presents its own set of problems.

3. Divorce is easy yes, but ... Many young men I talk admit they have no idea what it means to be a man. One young man I know, late twenties, intelligent is now resorting to books to try and figure out what being a man means. Just one aspect of divorce.

4. Equality for women.

a. My mum did the career thing, I was a latch-key kid. My siblings and I have problems, as do other friends who grew up with both parents working. I KNOW that both parents working does not work well for children yet I have had to work. So I have not pursued a career but worked in situations where I can be there, sort of, for my children. This is an area of EXTREME guilt for me, as I have placed the same burden of lonliness and having to grow up quickly on my children that were placed on me.

b. My grandmother was subservient to my Grandfather's decisions, but he would Never do anything without asking her opinion and really taking it on board. Their roles in life were very defined. One thing I have learned, you can't have two bosses. Doesn't work on a work site, and doesn't work at home. Someone MUST have the final say. And this is where it gets complicated and why IMO marraiges are failing. Somehow, a compromise must be reached very early on as to who decides what. Who does what. Who earns what. Who is the primary care giver. etc etc etc. The list is endless and needs to be updated daily. Just like there is no instruction manual on how to bring up kids, there isn't one for marraige in an age where we have changed the rules. Unfortunately in many discussions someone must back down. Maternal intinct is soooo strong. Men spread can father thousands of children, woman only have the biological chance of a few . This does relfect in our decisions. Somehow the knowledge that we must make the best of our opportunities is ingrained into our thought process.

c. Equal wages - as a mum you take what you can get to fit into your families life. Employers know this.

Minor start on your question and most I've written in ages. I do appreciate your questions as it makes me attempt to focus which I am finding harder and harder these days even if I can't reply and when I do write baby words.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Richard on Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:53 am

thanks for all your thoughtful replies.

In gay marriage there are no rules - no pre-set societal roles for husband and wife when there are only two husbands or two wives. when Steve and I married we agreed with you that one person has to have the responsibility of the final say in certain areas.

I got to decide where we lived and on issues about Carey and on matters of visual taste. Steve got the final say on finances and ... well everything else. BUT neither of us ever had 100% responsibility - the "final word" only meant a 60-40 partnership in that area of our lives.

In 1998 when Steve moved in with Carey and me after our marriage, I went through a complete personality change in about 48 hours ... for the first time in my life another adult depended on my having a job, doing well in that job, and bringing home boht money and health insurance. Steve's very life depended upon my working. Yes, I have always supported Carey ... but the feeling is very different with another adult. Steve was a stay-at-home spouse.

I appreciated my father and all other bread-winners MUCH more than ever before. It is a tremendous responsibility. Huge. Accepting that responsibility was a huge psychological adjustment for me. I invited it, I welcomed it ... but it was tough adjustment to make inside of me.

So I think you are correct on the "one boss" rule. but I also have found that both persons can be that "one boss" in various life matters - where their expertise and strengths make them better suited to the task.

Like you, I have never seen a 50-50 relationship. One that actually works inthe long term. I think you are on to something in what it means to be a man and what it means to be in marriage.

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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  VickiG on Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:10 am

I'm not up to responding to your whole post just now because there are so many different things to respond to, and I can't think very clearly at the moment. But two things did come to my mind.

First, I thought it interesting and somewhat relevant to the post to say that in the LA Times a day or two ago, I saw an article that they have discovered a cream that women in African countries can use to try to protect themselves from HIV. It doesn't reach the high enough levels of protection to get approved by the FDA, but since a lot of women in Africa are getting HIV (I think I read somewhere that they are the fastest growing group of new infections) from their husbands, who have turned to other women or men and got them from the others and then infect their wives, the medicine is going to be allowed to be used in Africa. It is about 50% affective, which is better than the Russian roulette that these women have been forced to play with husbands who force them to have sex with them. In the U.S., it would probably fit the standard for rape within marriage, but they don't have the same rights in Africa that they do here. So this is at least something that will save some lives and give a little more power to women. Because so far, the only means of really preventing catching HIV is a condom, the women were dependent upon their husbands, who frequently refused to protect their wives. This will give them a slight measure of control.

I also thought about the question of how a marriage is run. I actually had a talk with my brother today about how a friend of ours is considering getting engaged, but has a lot of qualms because of seeing her friends get divorced. I brought up that my dad made the statement that there is no 50-50 in marriage, when my best friend complained that her husband wasn't giving his 50%. It's not about sharing equally. It's really 80-20, where you give 80% and only expect to get 20% in return. My brother argued that it really should be 100-100, as in each person gives everything to the other person, which means they still get things back, but they give their all to the other person. In so doing, they get rewarded from it too.

This is slightly off the topic, but Andrew also told me that one reason he believes a lot of marriage have failed is that couples don't try to take care of any conflicts immediately and get past them before they have time to fester. He said that he has a contract with his wife that if they ever have a conflict that they can't solve on their own within a week, they will seek out a couple who have been married for a long time and have a solid marriage to counsel them in helping them solve their issue, so it doesn't have time to fester and eat away at their relationship. I thought that was a really smart idea!

I'll reply later to the other ideas, but I'm rather drugged right now and can't think clearly enough to address them properly.

But I think you are on to some significant questions, Richard. How do you, as a gay man, feel about the roles that gays play in society? Obviously, gayism, which I view as much worse than homophobia, which I think is rooted in ignorance, while gayism is rooted in hate, is alive and well. But even related to your questions about the roles of women, there is a perception at least that most gay couples have one member assume a "masculine role," while the other assumes the "feminine role." I don't think this is necessarily the case, at least based upon some gay couples I know, but it is sometimes. The friend I have known the longest since childhood (I was her first friend) very clearly plays the masculine role in her relationships, but she has never wanted to be feminine in anything. I remember when she had to wear dress shoes for a choir concert, in which all the women wore formal dresses, and she looked so odd because she walked like a man and couldn't walk femininely in those shoes to save her life!
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Brent on Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:59 am

Richard, I adamantly disagree with half of your post here. But this is not a debate forum, and Rhonda has specifically asked it to not be. Therefore if I post my opinions then is will become a debate. If an opinion post cannot be debated then it's nothing more then one person's soap box.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  VickiG on Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:25 am

As for the common perception that marriage be for procreation, I read in last week's Time magazine a really interesting article about families who have only one child and how such families are really increasing, despite the stereotype (based upon pseudoscience that got rooted in the culture) that single children are maldeveloped. The article gave the statistic that while in the past, people thought of marriage for procreation, that is changing a lot. I can't locate the exact statistic just now, but it said that a large percentage of couples now view marriage as being for the satisfaction and completion of a pair of adults, not for the purpose of having children and passing on your blood line.

And as for the imbalances in society between the sexes, Time (can you tell which news magazine I subscribe to?) had a feature article a couple months ago about how women are taking over Wall Street. The CEOs of the top companies are still men, but the chief regulators are now women, and they are changing a lot about how things are run. While I tend to understand little about finance and financial corruption (business was about the only major I couldn't get my mind around), the article seemed to indicate that the women are changing the way people think more than just changing the rules after some of the recent financial scandals.

In support of your comments, Richard, one thing to point out is that even Muslim countries such as Indonesia (I think) have had women prime ministers, yet not only have we never had a woman President, we have a wide minority of women in Congress. And we never had a woman seriously contest for President until this last election. Elizabeth Dole was probably the first woman who was somewhat taken seriously, when she ran in 2000(?), but she dropped out very early in the race. Clinton was the first to make a serious contest.

But I will admit that despite my desire to see a woman as President, I voted for Obama in the primary because I thought he had better ideas and, more importantly at the time, he stood a much better chance of defeating the Republican candidate, whoever that was going to be, because Clinton is very polarizing and might deter some of the swing voters who would be drawn to Obama. Anyway, it's good for the country to have its first black President, even if the recent events with the NAACP controversy have shown we're not a post-racial society, as some had tried to suggest earlier. But that gives me an idea for another thread.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  survivor on Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:56 am

Hmmm.....just discovered I can see part of the thread beneath this window. Cool!

I don't remember everything said and things may be different here in the Midwest but here goes...

The point made about the size of homes is very accurate. Also, all families are two plus car families. In the 80's there were a LOT of kids that didn't have cars and frequently it was the girls. Thus the disparity in the cost of insurance complains the mother of three sons!

Our requirements as a society for the "norm" were a lot fewer possessions.

Perhaps I am wrong but I disagree with your assessment about sexual freedom. I think we have developed - rightfully so - to wear it is no longer acceptable for a man to be a "player" in polite society. Women are not expected to look past that behavior. My own sons have referred to some male acquaintances as "male wh#%$" because of their behavior. Perhaps it is the boys I have raised and th people they hang around with but these twenty somethings have no tolerance for sexual promiscuity in men or women.

Early in my career I experienced the wage disparity. I had a manager tell me that a man deserved more money than me because he had a family to support. I asked, "What do you call my husband and three sons? I am the sole bread winner." He said that wasn't his fault and my husband should get a job.

My blood boiled but I wasn't going to find another job that close to home paying that well and I wanted to be able to do the maximum with my children. So, I took it. I also quickly took another job in the same company with a better manager!

I think our view of what is equal has changed. I think we have changed the male roles, too. Now men want to work fewer hours and spend more time with their families. It requires both parents working to make it all happen - we think. If we settled for less it wouldn't be necessary but who is going to stay home?

That is becoming more acceptable now. When I graduated high school I was married and pregnant. I would have been happy to stay home but I was pushed by everyone around me to go to college. So, after a year I did. I won't say it was all everyone else because I was from a divorced home and my mom was not prepared to support us. I never wanted to be in that position.

I wonder how many women are like that? They are working not because they want to or because it makes life better but "just in case".

JMHO

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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Richard on Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:31 am

Howdy

I agree with Ronda that "debates" have no place here - but I firmly believe that "discussions" are right and appropriate in this forum. Here we CAN discuss AND disagree without being disagreeable, without attacking the poster - simply sharing our experience and our thoughts. Brent, I would very much like to learn your experiences and your thoughts about the role of men and women in this century.

So, your boys view the sexual behavior of their female and male friends with one lens? that is pretty amazing to me. I admit that I do not hang with many (make that any) straight guys in their 20's. That is rather amazing to me.

Language does fascinate me though. In English we do not, in general, assign a gender to any noun .... as is done in the Romance Languages (Frendch, Spanish, Italian, etc) We have "the table" whereas the French have "La table" where one uses "La" the feminine instead of "le" the masculine. (and it has been decades since I studied French so I may have it backwards.)

However in English, our society and our assumptions DO assign feminine and masculine connotations to certain perjoratives and certain nouns - usually of a sexual nature. If I were to write "whore" it naturally refers to a woman. Same with "prostitute" or "slut." To make these words masculine, in English, we add another qualifier -- "male whore" etc. Same with references to female dogs - always the feminine and with some masculine words ... have you ever heard of a female "hunk" or "stud?" Our English in the USA these days does indeed give some very few words a gender,

And I have found that language reflects societal views - and shapes those views. Just an observation.

Thanks to all who have entered this discussion in such an interesting manner.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  survivor on Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:24 am

Richard,

It could be that my sons and their friends are misleading me. It also could be that they all have a very strong fear of STDs. But yes they are judgemental about men like people were only of women a generation ago.

It could also be my personality. My kids all had problems getting along with a certain female staff member at their school. Another staff member said they didn't understand that because my boys were all so easy to get along with. I said, "I do. There is only room for so many loud mouthed, overbearing, bossy women in their lives and they get that in their family."

There is another gender thing. Women like me are being b!tc@y but a man would just be direct.

Nothing is perfect but I think we are evolving.

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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Brent on Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:40 pm

If a 14 y/o girl can get a ride from a school counselor to an abortion clinic without her parent's knowledge or consent then I am not sure just how much more reproductive choices women could want now. I suppose they can still build and abortion clinic in every junior high and high school. Now there's some progress (sic)

A man and woman can consensually conceive a child together but the woman can kill it at will without any discussion or input from the father. Yet if that child is born he is on the hook financially for 22 years even if he never gets to see it.

But if the father doesn't want to or can't be financially responsible for up to22 years he has no say what so ever. THAT IS NOT CHOICE!
"Choice" is a one way street that benefits the mother only. The father has no choice but to deal with what ever decision the mother made.

And that financial burden also affects any woman the dad my want to share his life with.
It really breaks my heart to see how sexually and reproductively repressed the 21st century woman is now. GET REAL!!!!!

Father's rights in my state are basically gone. You're up the creek if your wife has an affair and divorces you. He'll lose half of everything and still pay out his nose in child support. A friend of mine is paying $1200 per month in child support to his wife for their 2 y/o daughter. She is collecting welfare and living with a guy that makes around $150,000 a year. As long as she doesn't get married or get a job she can continue to collect child support and welfare, federal and state.

BTW, my friend nets only $1800 per month. So you can plainly see how he's living the good life on $600 per month. He can't afford to get an attorney so he basically got "bent over" by the psychotic and out of control family court system in this state.

Ya, I it looks like woman are just so repressed these days. They have it better now then ever before but there will always a vocal faction that wants a couple more pounds of flesh. Even to the point of alienating the very men that were behind them in effecting these changes in the first place. Equal rights did happen just from "girl power" alone. You ladies had a whole lot of help from "evil white males".

At this point myself and just about every male friend, family member and work associate has pretty much had enough of the militant feminist groups that want more and more with no end in sight.

At a certain point if you keep throwing gas everywhere and keep lighting matches you will start burning some bridges. As a society I think it's high time we stop, take a deep breath, look around, access where women are and make some careful rational plans how to move forward in a healthy and non-alienating direction.

All the screeching and yelling is turning away more people then it attracts. Try using some honey instead throwing vinegar into our eyes.

Don't take out your aggressions on men today for what our fathers and grandfathers did.





Last edited by Brent on Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Brent on Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:06 pm

My wife grew up in a very abusive home and had two step dads rotate through before she was eight. He beat all of the kids and raped and molested her and her sister for five years before being caught. Then the kids, not the step dad, were taken out of the home and placed in a receiving facility to await a foster family. Her very own grandmother accused her of seducing the step dad at age eight. My wife's file was lost and she ended up in the Green Hill Juvenile Correction facility since she was not placed in a foster home within three months.

To make a long ugly story short she studied and became an EMT. Then she made it on a fire dept in a volunteer resident program and got accepted into the paramedic program. That was in 1986 when the profession was 99% male dominated. She remains in the profession to this day and has received two Paramedic of the year awards.

She did it all without affirmative action, without being a "quota babe" or with the assistance of any anti gender discrimination laws. She had a vision and was going to do it and god have mercy on anyone that got in her way.

She kicked ass, took names and made it happen. Never once looking back or apologizing to anyone.

I guess somebody forgot to tell he that she was a repressed female and really won't have any chance in the evil white male dominated profession. If she tested for a civil service paramedic position she could pass all the testing requirements with 10% lower score. The last thing she wanted was to have to work shoulder to shoulder with men that knew she got in with a lower test score then they did.

She did not even have the choice to not utilize the test score shaving. If it was available she would have done it just to make the other minorities look bad.

We are both raising our daughter to have the same determination and goals. There is no free lunch and if you want to succeed it's going to take bloody hard work and a mighty thick skin.

My wife and I are not going to raise her to have to ride on the back of affirmative action and special privileges granted to minorities. She'll do it all by herself just like mom did.

She already knows that whining and complaining does not serve her well. And that carrying around a chip on her shoulder only keeps her from being able to move her arm.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  HeelerLady on Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:40 am

Have to say I agree with Brent on this one.

Brent - your wife is one awesome woman! I've always felt that if you want something, you work your tail off and don't take no for an answer. I know too many that given what your wife went through would have milked the system and played the "oh poor me - look at my life, I need a handout". Kudos to instilling the same drive in your daughter - we need more women out there like her mother. Smile
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Brent on Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:02 am

At the end of the day all we can do is our best. Have a vision and the passion to pursue it. And if you hit a brick wall look for that obscure little path around it. If you happen to land a job based only on your gender then it will have far less meaning then if you did it all on your own.

Success is not defined just by how much money you make. It's about having pride in how you got there and being an example to others that hard work pays off.

Amelia Earhart did not become a successful, famous pilot and author because of affirmative action or quotas. 1937 was not exactly a time in history that was favorable for women venturing into male dominated professions. But she didn't care and was going to follow her passion. And I would have not wanted to get in her way either. And not only did she do it but she did it without a chip on her shoulder or bitterness towards men. She surrounded herself with male pilots that wanted to see her attain her goals.

And before she disappeared she formed The National Womans Party to encourage other women and girls to follow their dreams also. That was a pretty bold move back then. To start telling girls to break into male dominate professions. Don't think for a minute that she didn't ruffle some feathers in the process. She was too busy to get her feelings hurt or cry foul every time someone tried to get in her way.

So are we teaching our daughters about famous, successful and determined women in history? Or are we showing them how game the system and pre-manufacturing them to be victims? How to sue to get a job? How to complain about wage discrimination? Use that energy to go some place else that doesn't discriminate.

The squeaky wheel does get the oil. But eventually it will be the first to be replaced.

As a society we will advance far better by working together in a synergistic spirit. We should celebrate the differences in genders and help each other with the respective weaknesses. IMHO that is progressive, not whining and piggy backing on affirmative action and quotas. Not suing to get a job. If you have a specific talent or skill and a business won't hire you because you are a women then that is their loss. There are plenty more that will. And the ones that do will always do better in the long run, history has proven that time and again.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  marion on Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:45 pm

I sometimes wonder if emotional/financial/physical hardship is a prerequisite for being well-adjusted and going out and succeeding in life -and I don't mean just financially.

Both my children, one male one female, have done very well. We went belly up financially in the 90's and they saw the hard times.

I agree Brent that the divorce settlement laws disadvantage some people terribly. (It is getting much fairer over here).

But then it comes back to why are there just so many divorces? The feminist laws, the change to economic growth at any cost, the commercial media hype that relationships should always be perfect and we must have "things" to be happy, have all added to the complexity of the equation of how do we live our lives?

Some people really think about these questions - some blindly accept that what's on the tv is true - and they want it.



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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Richard on Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:40 am

Howdy Brent,

Thanks VERY much for sharing your passion, your insights, your views, and your family's experiences with us here.

I agree with those who add that we are evolving AND I agree with wholeheartedly with much of what you wrote. Itoo believe that father's ought to have reproductive choices - we ought to be able to terminate parental rights IF we are willing to fund women's reproductive choices. But if a woman freely chooses to have a child even if the father says "I choose not to be a father" then I believe the woman has every right to make that decision and teh man has every right to terminate parental rights including financial responsibility for the woman's choice. You and I are in agreement.

I give Affirmative Action programs VERY mixed reviews. I applaud everyone who goes for the gold on their own initiative - and I avoid anyone who takes the victim stance and expects equal results instead of equal opportunity. I have met folks - all races, male and female - who believe that Equal Opportunity laws in the USA mean that they deserve the same outcome (wealth and prestige) as everyone else. Pure BS in my mind.

And every time a society creates more choices for its citizens, male and female, some people are going to choose that which I do not believe is in their best interest.

I guess the point of this discussion for me is that since at least 1968 in the USA, the Baby Boomer generation has gone way out of its way to change our society - to the end of equality of opportunity for men and women, the end of equal pay for equal work, the end of more valid choices for all of us.

We have put in place easily obtainable contraception, abortion services, highly confidential and personal medical records, EEO rules for hiring, promotion, and firing, Affirmative Action to overcome historical biases, no fault divorces, elimination in many places of differences between men and women in insurance rates, credit histories ... and on and on and on.

Yet, 40 years (historically that is TWO generations later) and we have not achieved equality of outcome or really of opportunity for women ... and int he process we have severely messed up fathers' right and marriage in a big way.

I do NOT think the answer is to now return to a rigid society with fewer choices for men or women. But I wish we could admit that some of our ideas did not have the impact we foresaw.

And I still see, feel, and experience the white male privleges of society - the way many people still bow to me in real life simply because I am a white male - it is just easier to live int his society as a white male. As a gay man, I recognize straight privlege in society.

How to react to the sexism and heterosexism and racism of the USA society is the question - if any reaction is necessary or desireable. It is a difficult question - but still one worth asking.

Embracing victim status is not the answer. Neither is "just do your best - because often the cards are stacked against you and the house will always win no matter what you do." I have no answer - but I learn and grow by asking questions.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  alli on Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:57 am

I think part of the problem in this country is that too many people mistake the right to have the "pursuit of happiness" as meaning the right to happiness. And too many buy into the fairy tale promise of happily ever after. ALL we have is the freedom to do our best to be happy and fulfilled. That doesn't mean that society owes us anything.

Militant feminsts, Affirmative Action, and other groups that demand equality without common sense are all guilty of this kind of thinking. It's like the group thinks if you just change this or that, everyone will be happy. The evolution of societal changes is always errratic. You have extremes on both sides. Hopefully as we keep going on the path to treating people well just because they are people, not their labels, these extremes will even out. I don't expect that anything will change quickly but if we perservere in teaching our youth better, things will get better. There are too many people who are afraid of change to have anything happen quickly but we have to keep going.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  pen on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:05 am

Alli, in the Uk, there is far too much about rights and nothing about responsibility....
This reflects on all walks of life, badly IMHO.

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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Brent on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:30 am

My perspective comes from being a male in a female dominated profession for 18 or 19 years if I count school. So I have been right in the middle of this militant feminist and "equality" sh*& storm. Being the recipient of what I call guilt by penis. I was the only guy in the class of 18 students at massage school. At least a third of the women hated me from the first day. A few times I had to meat with the instructor and ask "who is the problem here, me or them"? Twice Alicia the instructor had to have a couple "pow wows" with the message of knock it off and grow up.

Don't bother to find out who I am, what I have done, who I have helped or anything about my life experiences. Just judge me right out of the chute. Mind you these are self described "progressives" but automatically pre-judge based only on my gender. Tolerance?????? My ass!!!! Only when it fits their agenda.

Then I have to deal with men and women who are not comfortable with massage therapy from a male. They have to constantly sexualize my profession even though I work in injury rehab. Mind you these men will go in for a prostate exam done by a male doctor and have no issue with it because it's medical. But they won't allow me to stretch out and work an injured or sore trapezius muscle.

It's a combination of ignorance and sexual insecurity and is the height of pettiness.

But guess what? I do not have any federal, state or local laws protecting me from that level of sexual discrimination. Nor do I have a sympathetic news media or even pop culture going to bat for me. In fact they make it worse by being the very fountain spewing out the sexualization of my profession.

So for 19 years I guess I have missed out on this white male privilege you speak about. I couldn't even buy it if it was offered for sale.

So I am on my own. What do I do? Do I get mad and play the victim and whine and complain? Nobody is going to listen or even care.

But I know there are successful male massage therapists all around the country. My job was to network with them and find out their strategy. Obviously they have not allowed sexual discrimination to get in their way.

After working a few years doing the best I can and constantly adding to my training I started realizing my niche. The female massage therapists I went to school with were leaving the profession. They were doing it right when I was hitting my mark and getting my second wind. The State Massage Therapy Board sent out surveys to find out why 75% of the WA state licensed massage therapists (mostly female) were gone in three years.

My own observation was a good many (a few men to) didn't seem to be very good business people. Going broke is always a good indicator of that. Highly talented by couldn't run a business to save their lives. My next observation was injuries to their hands and wrists would take them out real fast.

I have had hobby businesses since I was 12 and had parents that also were self employed so I knew from the beginning what it took.

I also noticed several people remarking to me that I did a better job and used way more pressure then the female LMP's they previously used. And of course I was always defending them by saying not all of them are that way and I know many that have plenty of strength. Never any thanks for that BTW.

So I am still in the profession, making good of money and without any injuries. As a male I will develop bigger stronger muscles and do it faster then women. That's biology plain and simple. Those larger muscles will makes injuries far less of a threat. It works with all athletes and it appears it works for me also.

So I had two choices when I started my current profession.

1. Get angry, whine and complain, cry discrimination etc.

2. Or get busy, kick ass, take names and find my strengths. Mom told me I had them and mom is always right.

To you female massage therapists out there struggling with running your business or hand and wrist injuries.....EAT MY DUST!!!!! You had plenty of female privilege in a female dominated profession. What's your excuse?????

Thank goodness I did not have this supposed white male privilege. I would have had the temptation to sit back and surf it expecting everything will be easy and handed to me.

I do firmly believe as Marion posted that adversity, dis-advantage, discrimination etc is almost vital as a springboard for success. Seeing the bad just gives you a clearer vision of the good. If you can turn that anger into positive energy then almost anything can happen.

Most victims out there are only victims because some special interest group told them to be just to exploit the system.

And if I have a friend or family member that needs help or encouragement I will be there. I can do a far better job then the worthless clowns in our government could ever hope to.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by strong, happy and talented women. And they are by far the majority. They don't want to be equal to men, they know they can be better and almost always are. Many of them are mentors to me because I still need to learn more about showing affection and being a better listener. I hope to see far more women in powerful positions. They don't seem to have the problems of un-checked ego and the need for total control.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Brent on Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:35 pm

When it comes to white male privilege I guess it comes down to whether you saw it first hand or benefited from it. I haven't and our opinions are usually based on our life's experiences. And that is probably why we all have different opinions. And I understand and respect yours.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Richard on Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:52 pm

Brent, I am in complete agreement with your assessment of "pursuit of happiness" versus being happy. WAY differrent ideas. And it appears to me also that several folks get the two ideas confused.

When I tell fairy tales to my "kids" (neices, nephews, friends, daughter) I always change the Disney ending. The Prince finds that the glass slipper fits Cinderella and asks her to be his bride. In my version, she replies "No, all I know about you is that you are decent dancer and have a thing for women with small feet. However, how about lunch or a cup of coffee - I would like to know you better." Snow White replies: "No, all I know about you right now is that you kiss dead women - not enought o build a life upon - but let's have a coffee and see what happens."

I like my endings much better than Disney's. I do not believe we are supposed to be always happy - how boring would that be? We are meant to learn and grow through solving problems with one another. At least that is the way I see things.

And I know that sexism runs in many directions. The most sexist boss I ever had loved me and my work. She completely denigrated, ignored, considered foolish the intelligent and assertive woman who was my colleague - a woman I respect a great deal to this day. But that boss was sexist pig and preferred me (and other males) all the time. It was blatant. And the boss was a woman with many years experience in our field - and a fierce advocate for women's rights. But she never did see the plank in her own eyes. We tried, but she just did not see it nor did she change her behavior.

And I think, Brent, that we are in agreement that sexism, racism, heterosexism, anti-semitism, militant christianists and islamists who see "others" as the infidel ... and well there are lots of "isms" out there and reasons for one person to feel superior to another. I am most aware of sexism, on behalf of my daughter and her friends, and of heterosexism - my family is not recognized by law, for example.

But in my world and my worldview, I do not believe that the individual is capable of change all by his or herself. Yes, the most powerful agent for change is the individual story. And yes, the worse possible response to adversity to feel the victim and be made immobile by the victimization. But there are those people and systems and tests and rules that do indeed victimize people based on sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, religious faith, etc. In my world and world view, the best response to those who would victimize is to organize and stand up to the oppression. Educate, legislate, administer justice.

Like right now, Butte County California completely ignored California State law regarding registered domestic partners as far as the coroners office is concerned for three years - until my Steve died. Now they admit that their "same name = legal partners - otherwise prove it" rules have a disproportionate impact on gay and lesbian families. Yet they admit no wrong, and take zero responsibility for their actions. And yes, I was victimized by their irresponsibility when Steve died and yes I am royally ticked off. Plus, this county does not list "sexual orientation" or other characteristics for which discrimination is prohibited by state law but not by federal law ... on theri website and in their job announcements. The grossest insult to a human being is not hate, it is completely ignoring him/her.

Si I am organizing resistance to these - admittedly - small matters. I have scheduled a telephone appointment with California State investigators AND I am keeping the lgbt local organizations, local websites, and friends apprised of every step I take. I see these issues as not "Richard" problems but problems of the entire county - especially my tribe here. In a small way I am organizing resistance.

Am I assuming the role of victim? Maybe. Do I expect others to carry my water? No. But I do expect the County Government to follow State and enforce State Law.

It would be infinitely easier for my mental health to simply move to a gay ghetto - West Hollywood in LA, The Castro of San Francisco, Boystown in Chicago, or Chelsea in NYC - for example. It would even be easier for me, much easier, to simply ignore the jerks who desire to hold on to their redneck ways (by the way, I love rednecks and other assorted jerks - they are real interesting people to me - well everyone's story fascinates me)

Instead though, I choose to use the complaint procedures of the bureauracracy and the law to force my will on the governemnt - that they follow the law of California whetehr they want to or not. I like living at Ravenhurst Ranch, I like my friends, and I cannot afford to move if I desired to do so. So I pitch my tent right here and say, deal with me. Plus I organize others to stand with me.

Thanks again to everyone for sharing your insights.
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  VickiG on Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:23 am

One place that really bothers me is in many Christian churches. They often try to legitimize sexism by saying that Adam was created first and Eve was created to be his helpmeet, but my answer is, "So because I lack a penis, I am somehow inferior?" That usually floors them, as most of these people would never dare even use the word penis in polite conversation. I had one boss who said that she and her friends created the "pocket penis." Whenever someone would try to treat them as less than equal because they were women, they'd pull out their "pocket penises" to show that they have one too and can be treated just the same. I thought the idea was a real gem! I wonder how the church would respond if I suddenly held up a "pocket penis" in one of the men's faces!
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  VickiG on Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:29 am

To add on to my earlier comments, the Assemblies of God denomination was one of the first to ordain women. It began when people began speaking in tongues in the 19teens in Los Angeles, and the leaders were of all races and men and women. Sadly, racism soon caused it to split into two different denominations, and AG became quite racist for a time, although they are trying to get past that. However, when they advertise how many women they ordain, their lists are mostly of retired pastors who are no longer actively preaching. I understand that unless you are related to someone influential, your chances of becoming ordained as a woman are getting less and less.

My own church, a Baptist church, doesn't even allow women deacons (equivolent to elders in other churches) let alone pastors. It is something that bothers me a lot, but I feel that at this point of time, the church needs people who believe in women leaders to attend, so we can advocate in the future. As it is, I think the church has made progress. When I was a kid, I never heard of a woman leading up any kind of ministry that wasn't specifically for children or other women, yet I lead the international student ministry. So we're making some progress. I believe I'm here now in the hopes of helping them see the benefit of adding women leaders in the future!
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

Post  Brent on Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:40 am

Adam was the prototype and Eve was the upgrade. Very Happy
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Re: Women in Society in 21st Century

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